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ARUOND THE DRAGON

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15 days/ 14 nights

Covered Destinations PARO (HIKING TO TAKTSANG MONASTARY) ,THIMPHU, PUNAKHA , BUMTHANG, MONGAR, TRASHIGANG, BUMTHANG, TRONGSA, PUNAKHA,

About the tour:-

On arrival at Paro airport you will meet and transfer to your hotel. Later small briefing on the bike and your tour followed by sightseeing.  The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only airport.

 Mount Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.

 

 

Itinerary:

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO

On arrival at Paro airport you will meet and transfer to your hotel. Later small briefing on the bike and your tour followed by sightseeing.  The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only airport.

 Mount Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.

 

Watch Tower

The 200 year old Watch Tower which was renovated and converted into National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of national costumes and fabrics, gallery of Thangkas, an impressive stamp gallery with three dimensional and CD stamps issued as early as 1960 that are remarkable and other galleries showcasing armour and silverware with the handsome Royal tea pots.

 

Ringpung Dzong.

Ringpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels” The Dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang

Namgyel in 1646, with fascinating history and along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, old man of longevity, wheel of life and other cosmic Mandala.

 

Drugyel Dzong  although mostly now in ruins. Built in 1647 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel  to commemorate the victory over Tibetan Invaders, which indicates by the name of the Dzong meaning Victorious Bhutanese Fort

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 02: PARO (HIKING TO TAKTSANG MONASTARY) – about 900 mts. (3000 ft) above the paro valley

Paro Taktsang is the popular name of Taktsang Palphug Monastery (also known as Tiger's Nest), a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, located in the Cliffside of the upper Paro valley, in Bhutan. A temple complex was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup, cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century. Padmasambhava is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan and is the tutelary deity of the country. 

 

The popular legend of the Taktsang Monastery is further embellished with the story of Desi Tenzin Rabgye, who built the temple here in 1692. Tenzin Rabgye was seen (by his friends) concurrently inside and outside his cave; even a small quantity of food was adequate to feed all visitors; no one was injured during worship (in spite of the approach track to the monastery being dangerous and slippery); and the people of the Paro Valley saw in the sky various animal forms and religious symbols including a shower of flowers that appeared and also vanished in the air without touching the earth.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

 

 

DAY 03: PARO – THIMPHU (75 KMS / 02 HRS)

After breakfast drive to Thimphu,  - The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.

 

Memorial Chorten

This stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan's third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

 

Simtokha Dzong

This Dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands on a low ridge 8 km down the valley from Thimphu. The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies is located here. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this Dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 04: THIMPHU - PUNAKHA (77 KMS / 03 HRS)

After breakfast you will ride to Punakha via Dochula Pass, on arrival check-in into the hotel. 

 

Punakha (alt. 1300m/4265ft) - Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits. There are splendid views of the distant Himalayas at Dochula pas (alt. 3,050m) on Thimphu – Punakha road.

 

Punakha Dzong

Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. The Dzong is open for visitors during Punakha festival and in summer months when the monk body moves to Thimphu.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 05: PUNAKHA – BUMTHANG (212 KMS / 08 HRS)

Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys namely Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Linga to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin.


Places of interest in and around Bumthang or Jakar

 

Jakar Dzong : Founded by great grand-father of the first Shabdrung, the Dzong was initially built as a monastery in 1549. It was upgraded after the Shabdrung had firmly established his power in 1646. The Dzong is now used as administrative centre for Bumthang valley, and houses the regional monk body.

 

Jambay Lhakhang : This monastery was built in the 7th century by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. It is one of the 108 monasteries built by him to subdue evil spirits n the Himalayan region.

 

Its present architectural appearance dates from the early 20th century.


Chankhar Lhakhang: Beyond Jambay Lhakhang is Changkhar Lhakhang, the site of the palace of the Indian King Sindhu Raja. Because of its simplicity it looks like an ordinary village house. The original palace was built of iron and this is why it was named Chankhar, meaning iron castle. It was rebuilt in the 14th century by a Saint called- Dorji Lingpa.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 06: BUMTHANG

After breakfast, you will enjoy the Buthang sightseeing  Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys namely Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Linga to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 07: BUMTHANG – MONGAR (184 KMS / 05 HRS)

After breakfast ride to Mogar, on arrival check-in into the hotel,  Like many other settlements in Eastern Bhutan Mongar town is situated atop a hill rather than within a valley. This town is considered the main trade and travel hub of eastern Bhutan and most travelers and merchants active in East pass through here often spending the night at one of the local hotels. The main street is lined with traditionally painted stone buildings with wooden facades and verandas. Near the clock tower there is a large prayer wheel around which people often gather to meet old friends and chat. The local restaurants offer a decent variety of Bhutanese and Indian cuisine.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 08: MONGAR – TRASHIGANG (76 KMS / 02.05 HRS)

After breakfast at hotel, you will ride to Trashigang. On arrival check into the hotel.  Trashigang Dzong or ‘The Fortress of the Auspicious Hill’ was built in 1659, to defend against Tibetan invasions. This imposing fortress is strategically situated high atop a spur overlooking the Dangmechu River. According to legend it is said that upon seeing the Dzong, invading Tibetan armies remarked that the Dzong was “not on the ground. It is a Sky Dzong” before retreating. It has been the political stronghold of Eastern Bhutan for over 300 years.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 09: TRASHIGANG (EXCURSION TO TRASHIYANGTSE – 3000 m)

After breakfast you will enjoy day ride to Trashiyangtse, 2 hour drive from Trashigang is Chorten Kora, modeled after Boudhanath stupa in Nepal, where local people and Dakpa people from Arunachal Pradesh (India) gather in February/March for a festival to circumambulate the chorten.  A similar festival in Gom Kora takes place 10 days later. Bumdeling to the north is home to wintering black-necked cranes and to Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory, the national butterfly of Bhutan.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 10: TRASHIGANG – MONGAR (76 KMS / 02.05 HRS)

After breakfast you will enjoy sighseeing of Trashigang and later drive to Mongar. On arrival check –in into the hotel.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 11: MONGAR – BUMTHANG via URA VALLEY (184 KMS / 05 HRS)

Morning after breakfast at hotel, you will drive to Bumthang via Ura Valley: Jakar to Ura is 48 km, about one and a half hour drive. To reach here, the road climbs to Jakar valley amazingly open countryside, only occasionally running into forest. Large sheep pastures line the road up to 20 km behind the southern tip of the Tang valley. The route crosses Ura la pass (3,600m) with a magnificent view of Mount. Gangkhar Puensum (is the highest mountain in Bhutan: height roughly 13,200 ft).

 

Villages in Ura have clustered houses, which is quite unusual in Bhutan. Above Ura village (3,100m) is a new temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. Inaugurated in 1986, it contains a huge statue of the master and remarkable paintings of the cycle of his teachings. Since last 25 years Ura has been transformed from a marginal community to prosperous valley.

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 12: BUMTHANG – TRONGSA (68 KMS / 03 HRS)

After breakfast hotel, you will enjoy the sightseeing of Bumthang and ride to Trongsa. On arrival check-n into the hotel. 

 

Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 13: TRONGSA – PUNAKHA via GANGTEY VALLEY (142 KMS / 05-06 HRS)

After breakfast at hotel, Trongsa forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck, the Penlop of Trongsa, who was elected the country's first hereditary monarch and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck, ruled the country from Trongsa ancient seat. The Crown Prince of Bhutan normally holds the position of the Trongsa Penlop prior to ascending the throne. including the present King. The entire landscape around Trongsa is spectacular.

 

The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valley’s are tightly enclosed.

A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lays the village of Phobjikha. This place is the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate.

 

Later drive to Punakha, on arrival check-in into the hotel. 

 

Overnight stay at the hotel

 

DAY 14: PUNAKHA – PARO (148 KMS / 05-06 HRS)

After breakfast at the hotel, you will drive to Paro.  On arrival check-in into the hotel,  

 

Rest of the time free at leisure to relax

 

Overnight stay at the hotel

 

DAY 15: PARO + DEP.

In time transfer to Paro International airport to board the flight for onward destination

 

***********************************TOUR END****************************************

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ARUOND THE DRAGON  

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15 days/ 14 nights
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